Stories are so important in our lives.
I would say most people love to hear a story and that goes back to our childhood. Stories read to us at night time helped us sleep, created ideas, supported our dreams, and generally made us feel good. Stories at the camp site made us laugh or made us scared. A lot of us have a special story in our memory that our parents read to us on a regular basis. My grown up children remember to this day, the story “Love you Forever” by Robert Munsch, which was read to them many nights before bed.
So why is it that we remember stories more than events or even a person’s name?
Is it because they motivate us, make us feel alive or even inspire us? A lot of research has been done on it, but I believe that it basically comes down to the fact that something in the story touches our inner self. It resonates with us for some reason. Perhaps with our dreams, our ethics, our compassion, our hopes or even our personal standards. It hits us emotionally. And when it does, we will remember it forever. And once we hear one story that impacts us, we have an appetite for more!
In business and especially in the network marketing business model, your story which is part of ‘Your Why’, why you are who you are and why you are in the network marketing business, is key to attracting people with similar whys. But more importantly, it relates something special about you that people may not know, something that will create compassion, empathy, a connection and an understanding, because this story is from your heart.
Why is telling a story so important in the network marketing business?
Because “storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today” – Robert McKee.
It allows you to connect with and move your audience. To tell an effective story related to your business opportunity, here are some tips that you should consider.
1. It should follow a simple, consistent format every time.
Like any piece of written material, there has to be some kind of lead in that attracts attention, then the story, and then a conclusion or summary, that reinforces the story. It has to be about people so focus on the people involved. It has to stir up emotions and have a ‘moment of truth’, perhaps something to always remember. It has to be relatable, easy to remember and easy to share. It takes some work to really hone the format and It should be short but to the point.
If you are speaking with people who you have not met before, then you may wish to begin with some background information about yourself, then relate a dissatisfaction/adversity that you had to deal with, how you dealt with it, and what were the results.
So I begin telling people who I am, that I grew up on a farm, had to always help with farm work, had no running water or indoor plumbing until I was well into my teenage years. But that I got the entrepreneurial spirit from watching my parents deal with hardships and grow the farm into a thriving agricultural business. I then relate how I left home after high school and got into the cosmetic franchise business and then moved into the cosmetic corporate world. I then tell them that I married a military pilot and now have two amazing children. So I have set the scene about who I am. A farm girl who went into business and then into the corporate world, is a wife and mother.
2. It should relate to a challenge, problem or issue that you faced or gone through and how you dealt with it.
This is about sharing your vulnerability. When you do that, people will generally look at you in a different context, one that is compassionate and interested. Were you facing some kind of adversity that you overcame? Was it a fear of something. Did you become a stronger person?
Here is where you can really get people interested and hanging on every word. If the situation is so bad that people get concerned and want to know how you dealt with the situation, they will be asking you for more. Keeping them hanging is a technique that is often used by speakers to keep their audience engaged. The audience wants to know more. So don’t be too quick to deal all your cards. Keep the audience guessing.
As a military wife I relate how every three years we were uprooted and had to move to a new location and even to a new country. I tell people how difficult it was for the family – the additional stress, the change of schools, the loss of friends, having to find a new place to live, selling a home, buying another, and how difficult was to maintain my own career. I even tell them about the loss of a child, through all of this constant disruption. I demonstrate my vulnerability. So I wanted a change!
This sets the stage for my business solution.
3. The story should end on a positive note. This is important – its like “they lived happily ever after” endings. Most people don’t want to hear bad news, so the story should always have a positive ending, one that should include your business or products. The story must identify how your business helped you, the benefits and how it will help your customers or business builders. What did it solve for you and what can it solve for them. Does the future look so much better and brighter now as a result of what you went through or did?
For me the network marketing business was the solution. I now had a mobile career, one I could take anywhere, one that would give me the freedom to control my time, rather being controlled by someone else. I got to spend more time with my children when they were young and to do something that I believed in. It allowed my husband to leave the military, for a second career. It was also the additional income that I used to fund several income rental properties. It led to more stability, for me, my husband and my family. So today, I have freedom with more time and I have fun and I thoroughly enjoy what I am doing.
We all know that telling a story is an art – it takes practice.
The more stories you tell, the better story-teller you will become. You will learn how to keep your audience engaged. And if it is a story from the heart, the audience will always recognize that it is and show compassion and empathy. Telling your story is a valuable business tool, one that many people will be able to relate to and if they do, they will be interested in doing what you are doing.
“Stories have power. They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, challenge. They help us understand. They imprint a picture on our minds. Want to make a point or raise an issue? Tell a story.” – Janet Litherland